Aspen Institute New Zealand: the fourth #UkrainianDialogue on how to protect the peace
The Aspen Institute Kyiv, together with international partners, continues #UkrainianDialogue project discussions. Its main objective is to create a platform for dialogue between Ukrainian leaders and support countries representatives about how to help Ukraine to win this war. On April 21, together with the Aspen Institute New Zealand, the fourth #UkrainianDialogue was held. Sir Donald C. McKinnon, Aspen Institute Trustee, Chairman of Aspen Institute New Zealand, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade (1990-1999), moderated the event.
Vasyl Miroshnychenko: “Through this invasion, we fully embraced the emergence of the Ukrainian political nation”
Vasyl Miroshnychenko is the Ambassador of Ukraine to Australia. He underlined that the only way to peace is a strong economy and army:
— I hope that we will stop this war. But looking into the future, we can not change our geography. Russia will be there forever. Only strong Ukrainian military capacity and a strong Ukrainian economy could provide us security and safety.
He said that the whole world is watching the outcome of the Russian-Ukrainian war:
— If this behavior, assertive policy, and breaking of rules will have no answer, it will set a very negative precedent for other countries. It will mean that anyone could do the same things.
Vasyl said that Ukrainians now experienced something similar to Anzac Day in Australia: the birth of the Ukrainian political nation has come through military force and tragic loss over the past eight years.
— Especially now, through this invasion, we fully embraced the emergence of the Ukrainian political nation. We see that Russian speakers, Ukrainian speakers, Catholics, Orthodox, Jews, and Muslims all together united against one evil. And this is what we have not seen before. And because of having gone through this experience, we could never go back to what we have been before — this is just going to be a different country .
Aliona Shkrum: “I feel that some European countries still do not understand how we got to this point and what led to this point”
Aliona Shkrum is a Member of the Parliament of Ukraine. She compared the reasons for the war in Ukraine with the reasons which have led to World War II: calls to compromise and peace had become the reasons for a deadly danger for all of the continent.
— Unfortunately, Putin has become the new Hitler of our generation. As French president Macron told me, there are no people in the world who can psychologically understand Putin’s state right now. He has not been in contact with almost anybody for the past six months. But also it puts a question: “how could we become hostages of one person in the shelter very far away”.
Aliona stressed that many European countries do not understand that the beginning of the war in Ukraine was at the time of the Crimea annexation and Donbas invasion. And it is the point on which we should work for war prevention:
— I feel that some European countries still do not understand how we got to this point and what led to this point. They feel that they suddenly woke up on February 24th with explosions, killings of civilians, and something you have seen only in the history books and history cinema. I think it is crucial to have a discussion about why we have got here and how to get out of this.
Pavlo Klimkin: “If you compare modern Russia with Italy in the 20th of the previous century, you would not find a lot of differences”
Pavlo Klimkin was the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine from 2014 — to 2019. He is sure that there is a fascist regime in Russia.
— If you compare modern Russia with Italy in the 20th of the previous century, you would not find a lot of differences. It is a purely fascist regime with a clear focus on history, creating a sort of myth out of history, having a vertical structure with a sort of medieval system of loyalty. The Soviet Union was created exactly 100 years ago. For Putin and the people around him it is still alive, and he wants to get it back. Fundamentally for him, it is a sense of mission.
Many people talked about the full invasion but did not believe in it because they understood the consequences. But Pavlo Klimkin claims that Putin has no red lines: neither rational nor irrational. Pavlo followed Putin at many Normandy summits and shared his impression:
— Now, we need bold leadership. Because Putin understands only the share of force. He expects people to act forcefully. If you do not act forcefully, you are part of rubbish for him. He is not a military guy. He is a KGB guy. He understands the road as the sequence of special operations. If you have people in charge who have a special operation mentality, it is crazy dangerous. Another special operation could blow up the whole planet.
Pavlo Klimkin also thinks that all negotiations could start from the point where the military deadlock would be. The future of Ukraine and all democratic worlds will be decided on the battlefield. In this case, any support is critical for Ukraine. But we need more because Putin also has the resources and resilience to fight.